Boston Globe baseball writer Gordon Edes checks in every week (usually on Wednesdays or Thursdays) to answer your questions on the Red Sox. Ask yours now, and come back next week to see if it was answered. What follows is a special edition of the mailbag, filled with your reactions to Gordon's article on Manny Ramirez that appeared in Saturday's Boston Globe.
I want to thank all of you -- well, to be honest, almost all of you -- who have written in the last 48 hours, responding to the column I wrote on Manny Ramirez that appeared in Saturday's paper and then the posting I made in the Extra Bases blog yesterday after a reader called my home regarding the column.
Those of you writing and voicing your support, especially on the business of the phone call, I'm deeply appreciative. Those of you who raised objections to my column, the vast majority of you made your points, often quite forcefully, in a way that is acceptable in any debate. I regret to read those of you who ascribed my point of view to racism, or the fact that Manny doesn't talk to us -- he's been here five years, we've had time to adjust to that, believe me, and it hasn't kept me from writing thousands of words about him.
I would like to think that after 10 years of covering the Sox for the Globe, most of you have found me to be reasonably even-handed, but clearly that is not the case for everyone and I accept that. I've tried to make the point before, and I will repeat it again now. In the time he has been here, there hasn't been a single occasion in which Manny Ramirez has acted in any way toward me that could be characterized as abusive or overtly hostile. I would suggest that given what I've written about him on occasion, it would have been understandable had he responded differently. As a person, he is well-liked by his teammates because he has one of those personalities that is hard not to like. It is that same quality, along with his extraordinary ability, that has endeared him to fans as much as it has. But in the time that he has been with the Sox, there have been issues, and continue to be issues, with how he has conducted himself as a player, and I have attempted to frame those issues the best I can.
Some of you disagree -- intensely. Some of you have raised the legitimate point that it is always dangerous to discuss injuries, which, in my view, is why I thought, until recently, I've proceeded cautiously in this instance. There have been numerous instances over the years where outsiders have questioned how badly someone is hurt, only to be proven wrong, sometimes tragically so, as in the case of former Astros pitcher J.R. Richard, who had a stroke. What makes it doubly difficult in this case is that the ballclub parses out information about medical issues with great reluctance. Team trainers are not permitted to answer any questions, the medical director, presumably acting upon instructions from the front office, often furnishes few details, and neither the PR people nor the manager, who are often left in the position of answering questions on medical issues, are qualified to do so, and not real happy to be placed in that position.
I would object, however, to those of you who have concluded that I lay the blame for what has happened to the Sox this season at Manny's feet. That is hardly the case. The team's injuries, their lack of pitching depth, subpar performances from some key players, some bad decisions by those in charge, all have contributed. The point I made was that Manny stopped playing. I have repeatedly written that he was diagnosed with patellar tendinitis, and did not question that diagnosis, and also cited a Baseball Prospectus report at the All-Star break that suggested he might have a cartilage tear. But information I have received subsequently, that the MRI was clean, etc., led me to believe he quit, and then asked to be traded again.
Anyway, what follows is a sampling of responses I've received.
I can't believe you get paid to write articles such as "Time to close curtain on Ramírez's act". Is that news? What's tomorrow's article going to be about? How the sky is blue? How life is unfair? Manny Ramirez gets paid loads of money. We all know that. So does everyone else in major league baseball. Manny is a star, he plays by his own rules. Really? that's shocking. You and I both know that if Manny was like Curt Schilling, and sat down everyday and answered the same stupid questions with the same answers, you would never write such an article. But Manny doesn't, in fact, he doesn't do a lot of things you think he is suppose to do. And together with the fact he makes all that money really burns you up. It inspires you to write an article that makes you look like a jealous fool. In the years Manny has played with the Sox he has brought in far more money than he has taken away. He has provided the fans with countless great moments. Each and every year the press finds all his faults and amplify them in an attempt to cut him down. Each and every year they fail. Manny may not be the greatest teammate (although, most of his teammates get along with him fine). Manny is a great hitter. One of the greatest, and in the end, that's all that will be remembered. P.S. -- Regardless if Manny had played in 22 of those 30 games, the Red Sox will still wouldn't be going to the playoffs. They have NO pitching! Shame on you for even attempting to put the 2006 Red Sox failures on Manny's shoulders. You, a man that follows baseball professionally know full well that it all comes down to pitching and that is the reason they are where they are. If you wanna write an article, write one about the front office, let's see the kind of dollars the Red Sox as an organization bring in. These
guys have been robbing us blind and what do we get in return? nothing. At least Manny can hit.
Right on, Gordon. Right on. Time to send Manny packing, finally. His whole act is tired and insulting. His teammates must be done with him at this point. I know I am, and I'm sure there are many other fans who feel the same way.
Thanks for all the great reporting on the hometown team, Gordon. I read your stuff every day.
Bring on the hot stove. Theo's got a lot of work to do.
Why don't you mediots just admit you don't like Manny because he won't talk to you? And your article has even less credibility because you're a known shill for the Red Sox front office -- otherwise how would you know what Manny's agent said in private? Transparent yellow journalism.
Please indulge me. You deserve it. Allow me to apologize on behalf of the millions of decent Red Sox fans for the thoughtless individual who called you at home. That was uncalled for. Unfortunately, given the kill-the-messenger mentality that seems to exist in our society, I am not surprised. However, that does not excuse the person's actions.
I admire and respect your work, your thoughtful articles and most of all your commitment to the craft. Back when I was a sportswriter, the best advice I received came from Buck Turnbull, the longtime sportswriter of the Des Moines Register. He said, simply, "Be accurate and be fair." If that is the measure by which all journalists are judged, then you are fine. Thank you for all of your hard work, your intuitive, timely reporting and for being my eyes and ears to the Red Sox. You make it much easier to follow them from the Midwest. Keep up the good work.
Let it go. Bashing Manny is old and nobody cares. The fact of the matter is
that the Sox are better off with Manny than without and 99 percent of the fans know
this. You should, too. The injury that Manny has is the same injury that John
Valentin had. He tried to play through it, hurt himself worse and effectively ended his career. I can't believe that anybody could lay the blame of this season at Manny's feet. There are so many factors. Papi's heart scare, Wakefield's ribs, Papelbon's shoulder, Lester's cancer, Crisp's finger, Pena's wrist, Varitek's knee, Clement's psychosis, Beckett's transition, Seanz, Tavarez only throwing two pitches when he was in the pen, Hansen not being close to ML ready, Delcarmen learning on the job, Timlin getting old, Foulke getting old... Speaking of sacrificing yourself for the team, why doesn't anybody in
the local media note that Foulke basically sacrificed the remainder of his career in exchange for a title in '04? Why didn't anybody questioning Papi's health concerns or Papelbon's or Wakefield's or Clement's? (Clement by the way is not injured and I would bet my 401K on that fact.) Let it go. Manny is not reason we are missing the playoffs this year. It is a combination or a lot of different factors. Also, we all can guess that
Manny's agent is in town asking for a trade but don't say that he is when you don't that have information. That is irresponsible journalism. Why hasn't anybody called Manny out? You guys call him out EVERY week. Let it go.
I thought your analysis on Manny was spot-on. I'm sorry that you had to unnecessarily endure a personal affront from readers who felt otherwise. Keep up the good work - I read your column daily.
Gone is my one reason for reading the Globe Sox columns and therefore the Globe. I long ago gave up on Shaughnessy but always thought you were pretty reasonable.
I'm starting to understand why there are rumors that some ballplayers (free agents) do not want to come to Boston - even if the money offered is insane - the newspaper columnists specialize in cheap shots - as in your recent writings concerning Manny Ramirez. Please don't misunderstand - I have been an advocate of trading Manny for two years now - but, in my opinion, your recent musings were over-the-top and needless. They also make it much more difficult to engineer some sort of trade. The Red Sox have a tough enough time competing in the A.L. East w/o the constant columns full of innuendos. The list of superior ballplayers who are/were targets of the Boston press is quite long. I suppose it's time to start writing to highlight all the negative aspects of Zito, Aramis Ramirez, etal so the front office becomes handicapped in negotiations for the newest crop of free agents. Or maybe take up against Ortiz or Youkilis. Is it any wonder why this front office and the f/o under Duquette are/were so close-mouthed? One last point - I certainly don't agree with the reader who telephoned your home - that was totally uncalled for and you have every reason to be incensed. So long from one former reader.
I enjoy reading your columns but I disagree with several of your comments regarding your coverage of Manny Ramirez. Is Manny singled out because he is the highest paid on the Red Sox or because he doesn't always give 100 percent or because he is the only one on the Red Sox (that I am aware of) that does not speak with the press? Obviously, it's a combination of reasons but to state that his relationship (lack thereof) with the media does not impact what people write about him is laughable. If someone makes it harder for me to do my job, it definitely affects my opinion of that person. And no reporter is completely objective -- you guys are human just like the rest of us! I don't think you have a vendetta against Manny. But there is a bias. When you write a column that calls for Theo's ouster because of the numerous bad decisions made over the past 2 years or calls for
Excellent column on Manny Ramirez in Saturday's Globe. You said what I'm sure many teammates and front office people were thinking. Manny has almost unparalleled success as a hitter, but seems to lack the ability to play with a bit of pain. I truly wonder what his fellow Sox players really think. Trot Nixon, Jason Varitek, Coco Crisp, and others have toughed it out all year, while he sits. It's time to move him. Hopefully, the Angels, with their lack of offense will once again pursue him. He certainly has not been a true teammate and he certainly has put Terry Francona in an awful position as he tries to explain Manny's many absences from the lineup.
It must have pained you to have to write such a scathing article about Manny after having written that article praising him for his performance during the ill-fated 5-game series against the Yankees. You remember that series? The Red Sox were swept, effectively ending their season, but Manny went 8 for 11, with 7 RBIs and 2 homers and at least 5 walks. His batting average for that game was over .700, and I can imagine that his slugging percentage was well over 1.000 and who knows what his OPS was. You did write that article didn't you? I mean, anyone that would write such a scathing column when you perceived him to be dogging it would certainly have written an article praising him for such an unprecedented performance, being the balanced, unbiased Sports Journalist that I'm sure you are. Yeah, Manny did not start the last game. But even you could understand how it must have felt to Manny, who was already battling the knee injury, to have played his heart out (how else to describe his performance during the series) only to have the entire pitching staff collapse. Your column was so well written. I loved how you had all those quotes from the front office attesting to how "tired" they were of Manny. And getting all those quotes from teammates must have taken a major effort by you. It must have taken a Herculean effort by you to interview people in the sports medicine field to discover exactly how painful an injury like the one Manny has can be and the ramifications of continuing to play on the injury, and there by justifying your statement about playing with pain. With all of the research you put into your article, it's hard to believe that anyone wouldn't know that you were covering the team in Toronto. Actually, I got the impression that you wrote the article at your kitchen table while still in your bathrobe. ... Tell us again how you don't think Giambi is on the juice. That, to me, summed up your ability to critique/assess a baseball player.
Regarding your story in today's Globe re: Manny Ramirez, I would hope that you would base your opinions on facts rather than speculation from those so called un-named sources. Speak to a doctor about the condition. Give us some insight regarding the nature of patella tendinitis. From what I have read regarding Manny's condition it does not appear out of the ordinary for him to miss this amount of time. According to several sources, if the tendinitis is severe it can take months to recover. Anyway what is bothersome is that people who know nothing about this condition can make speculations based on whether they like the person or not.
As a long time reader of your columns on the Red Sox, allow me to first commend you on the great job that you've always done, and I hope will continue to do in the future. After reading your column on Manny, I was really surprised and disappointed. This 'new' trade request came totally out of the left field (pun intended) and I bet most of the Red Sox Nation did not expect. I however agree with you that there's a limit to everything, even Manny being Manny. I think it's about time Theo did everything in his power to trade him to another team, even if it meant absorbing most of his contract. My question is, do you think the Red Sox will at least be able to get a few blue chipper prospects back
for him? Or do you think Manny's reputation of being childish at best, petulant at worst, has gone to the point that no team would be willing to give up too much for him and the Sox would have to be happy with only a couple of B grade prospects, at best, for him?
You are spot on with your position on Manny- he is an incredible talent who is incredibly simple. With that comes indifference and a lack of understanding of core values regarding work ethic, being a team player and realizing the significance of being Manny freaking Ramirez. Adios, Manny - we'll miss your clutch bat, but not the baggage that comes along with Manny being Manny....can you imagine Manny with Lowell's heart? Trot's grit? Tavarez' spirit? Youk's hustle??? Keep up the great work.
As a Red Sox fan, I am grateful for your column about how Manny gave up on our team. Your words were powerful and correct, in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, I love Manny too and appreciate his contribution to 2004 - how can you not! But, it is true - he gave up at the Yankees series, and that attitude rotted the clubhouse. Red Sox fans are not dumb. We get it. It is too bad, because we won't see another duo like David and Manny. What a shame! Well, just wanted to send my thanks for having the guts to say what many fans feel. The best to you.
I typically love reading your sports articles, but in Manny's case you're dead wrong.
Your opening paragraphs give us some bull about money and future payments.
What does that have to do about the here and now? As a Sox season ticket holder the best attractions this year have been Big Papi, Manny, and Papelbon. Manny may have been first if batted ahead of Papi. Then you go to complain he has no heart? And your examples of heart and determination are Porcelain Doll Nixon, Captain no-clutch Tek- hitting .250, and Cocoless Crisp? Please. The only stat you use to justify your case is some superfluous hitting stat when the season was all over but the crying. When the Sox were still alive it was Manny who showed up every day. Where do you mention his stats up to that point? Or his numbers against the AL East Champs? Funny how Theo escapes your noose. Where was Theo at the trade deadline? Theo folded before anyone, and just in case it wasn't crystal clear dumped Boomer too. The Sox are the highest paid payroll in baseball not to make the playoffs. And you formulate an article complaining about Manny's share? That's just ignorant. The Sox have wasted plenty of money this year, but Manny's is some of the best bang for your buck in all of sports!
Your tirade about Manny is fine Saturday morning coffee-sipping material but it is akin to blaming the cat that sits indifferently near the smoking ruins of a barn that burnt to the ground. Of all the things that came together to destroy a once-promising Red Sox season, Manny's recent bench time is not one of them. You can hold him in disdain for his bizarre character flaws -- like, tell us something new -- but Manny and Ortiz were the only two consistent, functioning, productive pieces of the Red Sox machinery while they sat in first place for most of the pre-All-Star game part of the season. By the time Manny hit the pine, the situation was well out of control and this team was done. Yes, he's from another planet and is maddening in his strange behaviors. But the reason the fans love him is that he is produces every season and with Ortiz, is part of the one of the greatest 3-4 combo in baseball history. That 2004 World Series flag is waving around here in no small part due to Manny. You want him gone and suggest flippantly that he can be replaced easily, just grab a body and stick him out there. Perhaps just like Coco Crisp replaced Johnny Damon???? Manny's weird, Gordo, but he ain't the problem ... As I've told you before, I admire your work a lot. But this argument is old and stale. I'd rather have Manny any day over A-Rod.
I read your "Crossing the Line" entry in the "Extra Bases" column and am distressed at the continued license people take, visiting their misplaced aggressions on others in the name of spirit, passion, and loyalty. I am especially distressed by the actions of the individual who inspired that entry-actions utterly without regard for your privacy, for your professionalism (by which I mean the gentlemanly way in which you discharge your responsibilities as a journalist), and for the basic social contracts that bind us together as a culture. I imagine there are many factors which led to this unfortunate act. I would like to think that too much beer was a major contributor and I hope that today it's being chased with a round of remorse. I would suspect, however, that what chiefly sparked this response is the fact that you, a writer respected for fair-mindedness and even-handedness, expressed such a critical view. When a provocateur does this, he is easily dismissed, but your opinion is not so easily cast aside. This is neither to say that such an ill-mannered response was deserved nor that its delivery mode is acceptable under this or any similar circumstance. It's just my way of saying that while there are a few fools (and perhaps more than a few) who prefer shouting to speaking and debasing to debating, there are many more of us who, when we see the Gordon Edes byline, know we're going to be both informed and entertained. Whether we agree or disagree with your point of view, your thoughtful writing is appreciated by thoughtful folk, and if reading you is an act of indulgence, sir, it is an indulgence in pleasure. Thank you for another great season and best regards.
David, San Francisco, Calif.
I'm sorry, I know its fun to bash an All-Star player who is not playing during a devastating downfall of a great baseball team, but the 'journalism' entailed in your scathing review of Manny's "hiatus" as you call it is truly pathetic. As a news writer, you should be seeking some sort of evidence to support your claims. Until You or others put forth evidence that Manny IS capable of playing (i.e., that he indeed does not have patellar tendinitis in his right knee) why don't you write about something real, something that is either pertinent or potentially accurate, opposed to wasting my time with your bitter speculation and propaganda.
I'm a transplanted Sox fan, currently living in Grand Junction, Colorado. I'm a regular reader of your Globe columns (online), and I often see you interviewed on NESN (via the dish). I always enjoy your point of view, and appreciate the good work you do. However, you hit a new high with your "time to cut ties and let Manny-Be-Manny somewhere else" column. It was one of your best ... I completely agree with you. It's time the Sox stopped covering up for this malingering-slacker! He quit on his teammates (again) this year, and I'm glad you had the guts to call him out on it. Sure he's a great hitter, but he's a terrible teammate, and the Sox would be much better served using his enormous salary on someone who cares. Thanks for also calling out Francona for coddling and covering for him. Manny's act has grown very old, time to move on. Keep up the good work, and thanks again for showing some guts.
Not a good column today. Manny may be healthy enough to play or he may not, but only he really knows that and as we know he is very different. However, blaming Manny for any of the team's downfall ("those critical numbers stopped at a critical time") is foolish. The season was officially over after the Yankee sweep in August during which Manny played ridiculously well. It would be great if Manny played hard all the time but the reality is he won't and Manny at Manny's pace is one of the 10 best position players in the game. Ortiz relies on him so heavily and Manny maintains his output despite the most pathetic five hitters in baseball behind him. Good luck replacing him with one of your hustle winner guys. You'll lose Manny production, Ortiz production and more games also, maybe the new guy will be friendly, run hard and talk to the media, so who cares right? One of the main problems with typical Boston sports fans/writers is the love rah rah effort guys who stink, more than talented guys, who often are a bit aloof. Trot Nixon's career ended three years ago. Jason Varitek should never have been re-signed. He is an overrated defender (he's good, but overrated) and a poor offensive player. His leadership hasn't prevented the clubhouse from being a zoo. Yes, he is respected by teammates for his dedication and effort but that doesn't translate into wins. It's a wonderful quality but Mike Sweeney and Sean Casey are wonderful that way too, but they are also overpaid broken down has beens just like Varitek. He is similar to Bill Mueller another great guy who was vastly overrated and probably hurt the Sox with his mere presence the last year or so as it prevented Youkilis from playing. Youkilis in his first full season has already out performed Mueller in ever season of his career except the year he won the batting title, which was a career year for him. Varitek is worth $10 million like Matt Clement is worth $9 million. The Sox problem was pitching, Nixon, Varitek, Crisp, Francona being one of the worst handlers of a bullpen in baseball (The Sunday night Yankee game in August was the worst ever!) and pitching again, not Manny. As for replacing him with a winner, Manny has probably been apart of more winning than any other member of the Sox with the exception of Schilling and Timlin. Manny comes up big!
I am only 27 years old and I have been a Sox fan for as long as I can remember. I just wanted to write that I think you article was great on Saturday. You never criticize players and this time it's almost like a line was drawn. I agree with you that Manny quit, and I agree it's time for him to go, but what I have to say is that the only way you can let Manny go is if Theo and the trio fill that void with an Andruw Jones or a Vlad. You can't trade hitting for pitching in this instance. If you don't replace Manny's bat
like Ortiz said, he will never see a pitch to hit. But I am not running the team and God only knows what they are planning. Again Gordon, great article, sorry to hear that someone has a man crush on Manny Ramirez that bad and feels the need to take it out on you and your family.
After that hatchet job on Manny this morning, I hope you are able to retain your job as a Sox scribe because you certainly don't have a future in the financial markets. What does the deferred money have to do with anything? Do you know that that is why the PV of his contract is not actually $160m and closer to $148m? Of course, you are willing to bash a guy who is supposedly making $20m a year in PV terms yet citing deferred money as another reason why Manny is a bum. Present value > Future value, simple as that.
I thought you were better than that.
I have always found you to be an even handed writer and the best source for Sox info. The Manny article was particularly disturbing coming from you. If it was a hack job from Shaughnessy or a pro-Yankee/anti-Sox article from Ryan, I would dismiss it. But for you to write an article like that leads me to believe you have had it with Manny's act. If he is not really hurt, then I agree with you. But, as you said, how do we know? As a fan, all we see is what happens on the field, where watching Manny is a thrill. I would be extremely disappointed if the Sox did trade him because they cannot replace him, and I think we are seeing one of the all-time great hitters. But you see a lot more than we do. For you to say they need to get rid of him definitely makes me think. But I still think the Sox are better off with him than without him. P.S. Too bad some fans don't realize this is supposed to be fun.
Kevin, East Quogue, NY